The board of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has finally sacked the embattled executive director Jolly Kamugira Kaguhangire, ending her brief tenure at the investment promotion agency.
Kaguhangire’s four-year contract was terminated a year after her interdiction on account of findings of a select committee, which implicated her for abuse of office, incompetence, gross insubordination, irregular recruitment (nepotism) and concealment.
The others are misinformation and lying to the board as well causing gross financial loss to government by unjustifiably closing the investment offices at the Kampala Investment and Business Park, Namanve.
Interestingly, in a May 7, 2019 letter, the deputy Inspectorate of Government cleared Kaguhangure of receiving a Shs 400m bribe to allocate 8 acres of land to Hoima Sugar Ltd, Nile Fiberboard and Tasco Ltd as well as irregular staff recruitment.
The IGG also cleared her of diverting funds to facilitate her excessive travels and that of her husband. At least Shs 255m was spent on foreign travel by UIA in FY 2017/18.
Recently, Dr Emily Kugonza, the board chairperson said what the IGG investigated and found was different from what the management and board investigated and relied upon to sack her. It remains to be seen President Museveni's reaction to the board's decision to finally sack Kaguhangire as he was initially opposed to it.
Museveni last year said the accusations against Kaguhangire appeared to be just procedural that even his own office faced. He equated the accusations against her as grass falling in one's tea. "You remove the grass and continue drinking the tea," he said before asking the board to get back to work.
The position of executive director is currently being occupied in acting capacity by Lawrence Byensi who replaced Basil Ajer, the director of Small and Medium Enterprises who resigned just after four months into his new position and eventually left UIA for better opportunities.
Shortly after her interdiction in June last year, Kaguhangire refused to hand over the public office and properties in her possession as the inspectorate of government investigated the board for breach of employment schedules in her interdiction.
After meeting Museveni who instructed her to handover office, Kaguhangire who is said to be the First Lady's cousin, Janat Kataha Museveni refused to attend the handover ceremony. She also declined to appear before a probe and board before suing and later withdrawing a case against UIA.
In November last year, IGG exonerated the board - triggering the processes to search and find a new executive director to steer the UIA. Kugonza says the position has since been advertised for competent and qualified individuals to occupy.
"The former executive director’s contract was terminated according to the law and a new person was put in place to act in that capacity. Today, we have an acting director general according to the new law that came into force in February 2019. The recruitment process is on, the advert was sent out to Ugandans who are competent enough to apply and they will be subjected to a due process and an appropriate time, Ugandans will be informed who these other suitable Ugandan is." said Kugonza.
"We expect this to be concluded by August or end of September but we’re not very sure because the issue of reporting. You might get a candidate maybe is engaged elsewhere and has got to go through some processes to wind up the other side." he added.
Kugonza says the recruitment process should be concluded by September for the new director-general in tandem with the new law which re-designated all government executive director positions to director generals in February this year.
Kugonza says Kaguhangire’s case has since been handed to responsible government agency to recover funds she is accused of misappropriating.
"For us as a board we did our part - one we took decision as a board, and we expect as people who believe in the rule of law to be respected."